Rodrigo de Paul is best known as one of Lionel Messi’s closest buddies in the Argentina side. He’s a fierce protector of the Argentine captain and loves hanging out with him whenever possible. The two have formed a strong bond over the last few years, and De Paul rarely stays away from Leo on international duty.
In more than one way, he’s like the fearless protector of Messi on international duty. Many have termed De Paul as Leo’s ‘unofficial bodyguard’ and someone who always looks out for him and off the pitch. During matches, it is the Atletico Madrid midfielder who sticks up for Messi whenever he is barged down or bullied by opponents.
De Paul also takes it upon himself to be extra aggressive against players who try to ruffle up the Argentina captain and ensure that nobody tries to bully him. Some Anti-Argentina or Cristiano Ronaldo fans have mocked the 29-year-old midfielder for his devotion towards Leo, even labelling him as ‘Messi’s dog’ in the past.
It appears that Manuel Ugarte decided to use this as leverage during Uruguay’s recent 2-0 win over Argentina. This marked the defending World Champions’ first competitive loss since last being defeated by Saudi Arabia at the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Ronald Araujo and Darwin Nunez put the nail in the coffin to end Argentina’s unbeaten streak, but one heated moment in the first half got fans talking. Just before the opening goal of the game, a huge scuffle broke out on the pitch between a few Argentine and Uruguayan players.
It seemingly started after Ugarte lunged into an ugly challenge to bring down De Paul that drew the wrath of the opposition players. De Paul got back up quickly to confront him, but the Uruguayan midfielder showed zero fear. Instead, he trashtalked the Atletico Madrid star and went on to mock his bromance with Messi.
Ugarte seemingly made a vile gesture at De Paul that seemed to indicate that he sexually pleased the Argentine captain. This made things even more heated on the pitch, as Messi himself barged into getting involved in the scuffle and pushed around a few Uruguayan players too.
Ultimately, it was Ugarte who got booked for his cynical foul before the referee was able to bring some peace into the game. It appeared that moment might have totally rattled the Argentine players, who lost their nerve and ended up losing after that.
Messi hit out at Ugarte’s childish actions after the game, saying of the incident: “It’s normal. These kinds of games, qualifiers, against Uruguay, it’s always like that. I prefer not to say what I think. Young people have to learn to respect from their elders. This classic was always intense, hard, but always with a lot of respect. They have to learn a little.”
With that being said, the PSG midfielder has definitely earned the love of the Anti-Messi bridge and the Ronaldo fans with his actions. He is being hailed for telling it as it is when it comes to the De Paul-Messi friendship and finally mocking the closeness between the two.
However, neither Leo nor De Paul are much to care about what is said of their friendship online. They continue to remain really close friends both on and off the pitch, and De Paul will continue to stand up for his captain irrespective of whatever people say about him.